ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A manhunt is currently underway for the person accused in the fatal shooting of an Orlando police officer.
Master Sgt. Debra Clayton was fatally shot after she approached 41-year-old Markeith Loyd outside a Walmart store on Monday morning, said Orlando Police Chief John Mina. Loyd was wanted for questioning in the shooting death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend last month.
Mina says Clayton returned fire but Loyd wasn't hit. The chief also says Clayton was wearing body armor. She passed away at 7:40 a.m.
In addition to the tragedy felt by the Orlando Police Department, the Orange County Sheriff's Office is also in mourning after a deputy responding to the shooting was later killed in a crash while searching for the suspect.
"It is with heavy hearts that we announce the death of our beloved Deputy First Class Norman Lewis," said Jane Watrel, spokesperson for the Sheriff's Office. "Lewis lost his life after a traffic crash at the intersection of Balboa and North Pine Hills Road at 9:44 a.m."
According to Florida Highway Patrol, a van was traveling northbound on Pine Hills Road, as Deputy Lewis was on his motorcycle, traveling southbound on Pine Hills Road. The van made a left turn in the direct path of the motorcycle. The front of the motorcycle struck the right side of the van.
Lewis, 35, was transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center and later died from his injuries.
"He did his job every day and I think the public needs to know, whether it's doing mundane stuff or looking for the worst person possible, we are out here doing our job. That's what he was doing," said Kim Montes with the Florida Highway Patrol.
The driver of the van was not injured.
Lewis had been with the Orange County Sheriff's Office since March of 2005. He was a member of the Motors/DUI Unit and a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where he played football for the Knights.
Loyd was spotted Monday morning fleeing in a vehicle from the Walmart on Princeton Street by an Orange County Sheriff's Office deputy. Loyd pulled into a nearby apartment complex and began firing at deputies, hitting one unmarked SUV twice. A deputy involved in this shooting was unharmed.
According to authorities, Loyd then carjacked a vehicle and fled again. That vehicle was later abandoned. No further details have been released, but FOX 35 did speak with a few witnesses in the area during the shooting.
"There was a bunch of chaos, a bunch of people running, yelling, and screaming, all confused, confused as to where to go, what to do and how do to get out of there," said Chris, a man who was shopping inside the Walmart at the time of the shooting. "I saw all the chaos going on and I saw all the officers, I heard all the people screaming, didn't think much of it, but then I thought it finally ended in a place where there's going to be a locked down."
A reward is being offered for any information that might lead to the arrest of Loyd.